Today is my mother-in-law's 90th birthday.
Happy birthday Mum / Oma!
Mary is 90. She has dementia. She is in a special care home.
We saw her this past Easter. We are in Sydney and she lives in Toowoomba (12 hours drive apart), so this morning Mark flew up to see his mum. She won't know who he is but together with his siblings and her local church they will celebrate her life thus far.
Mary came with her husband Harry and 3 young children (and pregnant with the 4th) on a ship to Australia from The Netherlands in the 50's. The war was finished and they didn't see many opportunities for work. They took up the offer and came to Australia. Can I just repeat... pregnant and with 3 young children... 6 weeks on a ship. She said goodbye to her family and a life she knew, to make a new beginning on the underneath side of the world. Well, in hindsight that was a great move. She always loved the warm weather, the local church, friends and bringing up her children in Australia.
Here she is about 5 years ago with Annalee and this year with Mark.
Her greatest delight are babies and young children. She had 6 children and 23 grand children and I just did a rough count and I think she has 31 great grandchildren. Here she is with great grandchild, Mikkah.
I love this photo.
It would be impossible to comprehend how many people have been cared for, loved, provided for, hugged... and I'm sure lovingly smacked with these hands. It would be even more impossible to know how many blessings God has sent to this earth in response to the prayers sent up when these hands have been folded in prayer.
I admit there are tears as I write this post. I know she is in God's hands and I am convinced that God has His plans and purposes in the difficult things in life, like dementia.
Human beings so easily return to the default state of selfishness. It comes naturally and easily. By allowing people to live on this earth in a state of dependance teaches us to care for others. To respect life. To not just think of ourselves but of the needs of others. To love.
Thank you Lord for lessons to be learnt and help us to be good students!
We are also thankful for the staff at the home she lives in, for the love and prayers of all her friends and for the family who live close by and care for her and do so much for her.
Here is a precious photo taken yesterday, on her 90th birthday.
Happy birthday Mum.